Canadian postal workers have voted in favour of strike action, with the union president saying members are overworked.
Strike votes were held at locals across the country between Aug. 7 and Sept. 9, with 93.8 per cent of urban postal operations workers and 95.9 per cent of rural and suburban mail carriers voting to walk out if an agreement can’t be reached with Canada Post.
That could happen as early as Sept. 26.
“Over the last decade, the working conditions of all our members has deteriorated, leaving many overburdened, with little time for their home life,” said Mike Palacek, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, in a statement Tuesday that released the vote results.
The union said an “explosion of parcel volumes” has been a huge burden, and mail carriers need guaranteed minimum hours and job security.
The union says about 8,000 rural and suburban letter carriers, who are mostly female, earn at least 25 per cent less than their urban colleagues, who are largely male. Negotiations began in November 2017. The collective agreement for the rural and suburban letter carriers expired Dec. 31, 2017, while the collective agreement for the urban postal operations unit, which has 42,000 members, expired Jan. 31, 2018.
In late May, an arbitrator ruled that urban and rural mail carriers do essentially the same work, but a pay gap exists between the two groups.
A spokesperson from Canada Post declined a request for an interview from CBC but provided a written statement that said talks are continuing with the union to find common ground.
“We remain focused on working toward a successful resolution,” it said. “On Friday, September 7, Canada Post tabled offers which reflect the recent growth in our parcel business and the important role employees have played in this success. The offers include pay increases, benefit improvements and a commitment to work collaboratively on several areas of importance to both parties.”
The union hasn’t yet responded to requests for comment.